Reviews of non-fiction at Amazon

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I've been writing reviews of various things for some years now, but it was only in late 2005 that I finally got around to being opinionated over at the 900 lb gorilla of online bookshops. I thought I'd collect the texts of my Amazon reviews on my own website, together with links to the relevant book pages at and Since they're Amazon reviews, they're written in the context of full biblio details and possibly other reviews on the Amazon page -- I'd usually give a bit more detail in standalone reviews.

My reviews page at
My reviews page at

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Full list:

Lars Eighner -- Elements of Arousal: How to Write and Sell Gay Men's Erotica

5 stars - Excellent "how to" book for all fiction writers, not just erotica writers

The title is in some ways misleading, as "Elements of Arousal" is one of the best books on writing fiction I've ever read, regardless of genre. Yes, it's an excellent "how to" for writing gay men's erotica, but it's also a superb course on both the craft and business of fiction writing in general. It won't suit everyone, as the writing examples used are very explicit erotica, but on the other hand the examples used are certainly memorable, and Eighner uses them to great effect in teaching various aspects of the craft of writing.

Even this revised edition is now over a decade old, and some parts of the section about the business side of writing are now seriously outdated, but it's still a useful guide to practical aspects of selling one's work. The book is currently out of print, but is readily available second-hand and in an a web version, and is well worth tracking down.

Elements of Arousal: How to Write and Sell Gay Men's Erotica at
Elements of Arousal at

I also wrote a much longer review for Vision magazine, published in issue 33 (May/June 2006).

Ricardo Juan-Carlos, photography by Phil Flasche -- Photographing the Male - How to photograph the male form in action and repose

5 stars -- superb "how to" on a rarely covered subject

It would be easy to glance at this book and dismiss it as just another coffee-table art book, but it is in fact an excellent photography "how to" book. It was written in 1983 and it shows -- there is no mention of digital cameras, or even the most modern developments in film cameras -- but it still gives a solid grounding in basic photography techniques and how to apply them to photography of the male figure. Much of the material in this book is equally applicable to digital cameras, and potential readers shouldn't be put off by the age of the book. Practical advice on things like the effects of different lighting, composing the picture, and displaying the final result will be useful regardless of the type of camera used.

The book starts with very basic principals of photography, and goes on to show how to apply them in male glamour photography. As such it will be useful to amateur photographers ranging from those who have never used more than a point-and-shoot pocket camera to serious hobbyists. My feeling is that it will also be of use to the professional looking to move into a different genre, but not being a professional myself I don't have the experience to judge this.

The book is crammed with example photos illustrating the points made in the text. These photos have a very practical use in the book, but they also make it a very nice coffee-table art book. There is a clear emphasis on male gay eroticism, but these photos are erotic art, rather than standard centrefold porn, and there's a great deal of variety in settings and poses. It's well worth buying just to look at the pretty pictures, and artists may well find it a useful reference book.

It's been reprinted a number of times, sometimes with different cover art. My copy was printed in 1998 by Eagle Editions and it appears to have been reprinted at least once since then. It doesn't appear to be in print at the time of writing, but is usually available second-hand, and you may see a new copy from time to time.

Crown/Crescent/Random House ISBN 051742133X
Photographing the Male at Barnes and Noble
Photographing The Male at
Photographing the Male at

Eagle Editions ISBN 1902328043
Photographing the Male at
Photographing the Male at

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